Banks have a responsibility to their stakeholders to bring consumer opinion into strategy. Because catastrophic failure and wild success both depend on it. Banks need to seek out opinions, create conversations that forge opinions, respond to opinion changes, and inspire opinions that match the brand.
Today consumers look superhuman in comparison to past generations when consumer opinion often died with the family and friends who had to listen to it. Today one disparaging story can go viral and turn public opinion against a bank on a scale thousands of times wider than their footprint. Non-customer opinions can even destabilize a bank.
It goes the other way too. If consumers are surprisingly impressed, they can create an awe inspiring advertising campaign beyond anything the bank could do themselves, for free.
With that kind of power, consumer opinion has moved up to a level not far from regulation compliance. Listen carefully and survive, ignore and risk everything.
Banks need to be outspoken so consumer opinion has a place to roost. Banks have traditionally avoided taking a stand, partly due to transparency skeptics who frighten them into being silent. Lying low until opinion changes is like lying low until compliance changes.
Best news? Positive opinion can bring healthy organic growth, faster than ever before.
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